wittelsbuerger special-brochure gives you all the information
and details on the sport of reining and the World Equestrain Games
in Aachen, Germany more...
say we saved the best for last, and the raucous reining fans would
certainly agree. With the sun shining brightly for the first full
day of these World Equestrian Games, spirits were high as were
hopes for the U.S.
keeping their Team Gold. Reining makes its second appearance at
the WEG, after a Gold-medal win for the U.S.
in Jerez, Spain,
in 2002. Today’s Gold medal victory showed the world that
still proves to be the team to beat, scoring 664.5. All four U.S.
riders will return Sunday for the individual competition.
Lots of yelling,
hooting and hollering led the way for America’s
first rider, Dell Hendricks, of Tioga,
TX, who took to the arena with
Starbucks Sidekick, a six-year-old Quarter Horse stallion, owned
by Adair Reiners, LLC. Hendricks and Sidekick took the lead with
a score of 219. Just four riders later, Canadian Lance Griffin
repeated Hendrick’s score.
I don’t like to hold back,” said Hendricks. “I
only watched two horses before I started, and then I got on. They
picked me to go first, because they knew I was just going to go
hard and hope that we could just put up a big score and make everybody
has a special bond with his gray partner; Sidekick’s grandmother
took Hendricks to his first career reining win. He had nothing
but praise for his mount today.
was pretty good today,” he said. “He threw a
couple things at me that kind of surprised me, but an older horse
will do that to you. I was really tickled with him. He went in
there and turned around really good; I was really happy with that.
He circled to the right nice. It’s a lot of fun in there
when they’re screaming that loud.”
of Silt, CO, and his 12-year-old Quarter Horse stallion, Smart
Paul Olena were the next Americans to go and retook the lead with
a score of 223 and sliding stops that had the crowd holding their
breath and then screaming for more. However, there was a tense
moment for the crowd when Paul slowed to a lope for his second
small circle that was almost a halt. However, Paul did not falter,
earning the American’s highest score.
is incredible,” Ralston said. “It is amazing the support
even from country to country. Everybody was yelling in there,
and I know they’re not all from the U.S.
It’s incredible that everybody is so enthusiastic. I didn’t
know what to expect. This is my first trip to Europe,
but it’s been a great experience all the way around.”
he calls Paul, has been a member of the family since wife Meg
purchased him a few years ago. They purchased him from a family
that had a ranch on a mountain where Paul was turned out for four
to five years with about 30 to 40 broodmares and also did some
ranch work. Ralston tried to get some of his clients to buy him,
but no one wanted to take a chance on a horse that had been out
of commission for so long.
almost twice as old as all the other horses on our team,”
he said. “I think that’s a big reason he’s as
good as he is, because he had four or five years to go and live
on the mountain and then came back as a more mature horse.”
about his favorite part of the test, Ralston was quick to respond,
“He’s an incredible stopper,” he said. “I
have so much confidence in him, because he is so consistent; he’s
so powerful. It’s a really good feeling that at the end
of the pattern, you know that if something went wrong, you’ve
still got the stop.”
Third up for
in the team competition was reining legend Tim McQuay of Tioga,
TX, riding Mister Nicadual,
a six-year-old Quarter Horse stallion, owned by Jerry Kimmel.
McQuay did not fail to impress, and his score reflected that—a
222.5, putting the U.S.
in a nice spot for a team medal.
was a little tight on his spins, and I probably was too,”
said McQuay. “I just got a little anxious there. But for
the rest of it he said, ‘just get out of my way, let’s
go.’ It’s a great feeling, and the atmosphere at this
horse show is just—the whole USA
is here and saying we want to win. We want to show them we are
proud of ourselves.”
screaming crowds, McQuay praised Mister Nicadual for always knowing
his job. McQuay thanked his horse and mentioned what a special
mount you have to have in this sport to be successful.
I can’t wait until we have this in Kentucky,”
he said. “The U.S.
doesn’t get to see this. The European people are so involved.
They just love horses. It seems like no matter what event, they’re
there watching us and cheering. They love to see horses do anything.”
about whether or not he thinks his horse has anything left for
the final, McQuay simply stated, “I think we can beat that.”
rider was Matt Mills, who posted a career-high 231.5 at the selection
trials, and was today’s team anchor. Mills is the team’s
youngest member at 27. Ironically, he first apprenticed for teammate
Hendricks, who taught him much of what he knows. Mills and Easy
Otie Whiz, a seven-year-old Quarter Horse stallion, owned by Out
West Stallion Station and Bobbie Cook, posted a score of 217.5
which the crowd was not happy about.
I was happy with the way my horse showed,” Mills said. “He
handled the crowd well. The first half of the pattern felt exactly
the way I wanted it to. I don’t think I could have done
a whole lot better there just running and stopping, he just wasn’t
really comfortable with the ground. The first stop—he approached
it really nice and actually tried a little too hard. The ground
was maybe a little slick for him.”
today where the team honors were decided, with the top 20 riders
returning on Sunday for the individual competition. In today’s
competition, reiners performed pattern eight, and the three highest
scores were taken into account for the final team rankings. The
top 20 individuals will move forward to Sunday’s individual
competition where they will perform pattern nine.
Tom McCutcheon also made the trip to support his team. McCutcheon
was a member of the first WEG Gold medal-winning reining team
and also the Individual Silver medalist. Another regular from
the 2002 WEG was reining team chef d’equipe Jeff Petska,
who was very complimentary of his team.
enjoy seeing the guys working together,” said Petska. “The
camaraderie, how they help each other, all the input they have—because
when we select our team, these guys become a family, and obviously
we have an individual competition on Sunday, but we come over
here and our first priority is to win the Team Gold. Obviously you can see
by the smiles on their faces that it’s very rewarding.”
The 2002 FEI
World Equestrian Games were the debut for reining, and the sport
continues to be the fastest growing discipline recognized by the
FEI. This year, 68 reiners
from 21 countries are vying for the highly sought-after medals,
of which the U.S.
took three in 2002, a Team Gold, Individual Gold and Individual
Silver. At reining’s debut four years ago, there where 11
countries represented, nine with full teams.
against the U.S. today with full teams were Austria, Belgium,
Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Great Britain, Germany,
Israel, Italy, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Slovakia and Sweden.
Countries with individuals competing are Denmark,
The Dominican Republic, Hungary
(2) and Poland
the top score of the day—a 225.5—was Canadian, Duane
Latimer, former trainer of Mills’ horse Easy Otie Whiz.
Latimer was also a member of the Silver medal winning Canadian
team whose final score was 664. Earning the Bronze medal today
with a score of 656 was the Italian team. After the victory gallop,
as a grand finale, the Americans performed spins in unison which
made the crowd go wild.
The jog was
held Thursday and two of the horses held for re-inspection did
not pass, one from Germany
and one from Denmark.
Today was also an unlucky day for the Dominican
Republic’s sole rider who
broke pattern, touched both reins and took the wrong lead, giving
him a score of 0. Five more riders zeroed out by the end of the
competition, one from Slovakia,
Sunday, 3 September, 11h15 - 14h15
all the latest information on Reining, the WEG 2006 and the teams
Europe´s leading western website - click here!